Mudcat Café message #463419 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34345   Message #463419
Posted By: BK
16-May-01 - 12:40 AM
Thread Name: Thoughts on Gordon Lightfoot
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Gordon Lightfoot
Missed the PBS concert - but maybe they'll sell a videotape of it...

I go WAY back w/GL. First saw him in Seatle, at the end of what I understood to be his first highly acclaimed US tour, apparently well sold out in most venues. In Seatle he'd booked the opera house, I think it was called. It was HUGE. But, unlike elsewhere, only a few folks showed up & many of them in cheap seats WAY, WAY back. When he came out & saw the tiny crowd, he told everybody to move up close - & then, for just a few rows of listeners, put on a fabulous, stunning show! He was simply GREAT! He even said "Mountains & Marianne" (outstanding song!) was abt riding a motorcycle, winning a bet for me - And, I'd ridden to the concert on a motorcycle..

Since then, my wife & I saw him multiple times over the years & every time he looked a little older 'n thinner & more like an old alky who has wrecked his lungs w/tobacco ("rode hard 'n put away wet" comes to mind). I imagined I would know EXACTLY what his lungs sound like, as I lsiten to such wrecked lungs every day in my role as a prison doctor.

BUT: We saw him at the university several weeks ago & it was still GREAT & more than worth it. He seems, for the first time, to be more mellow - in the past he'd often seemed a little sharp-edged, or angry. He also made a comment on stage this time (don't remember the exact words) that suggested he'd come to some peace he'd not had previously - probably something to do w/the new family. My wife & I really hope he has, & that he takes REALLY good care of himself from now on & keeps singing- as long as he wants to. We'll be glad to come hear him.

His voice, as he said on stage, has given up a few notes, but he still did a great show, & from the new material he did he still has that special touch as a writer.

& speakin' of qualities as a writer: I have always considered him as among the very best of the very best, a true genius. His words were eloquent, lyrical, insightful - a real poet. And his tunes are equally striking, & beautifully fit the words & the character of the message. For me, he was the most profound influence - far more than Dillon - who I never admired at all. In my days as a young sailor, my ship visited a Canadian Navy base (just as they were usin' up the Grog, 'n about to start some kind of "one uniform" thing w/Canadian Defence Forces.. Sad..)

Anyway, we jammed (til too snockered to hold down the guitar strings) on one of the canadian ships, 'n a Canadian sailor told me I sounded like GL. I was curious, so the next time I was in the Base Exchange I bought a Lightfoot album 'n was completely blown away! God, I only WISHED I sounded like him!! (I DON'T; never did!) The rest, as they say was history; I bought EVERYTHING from him I could lay my hands on & have been a fan & sometimes singer of his material, ever since..

I won't list all his songs I think are great - nowhere near enough room!

Anyway.. gotta get ta bed, lot's o work in the AM..

Cheers, BK